Score: 94+/100 (9.4+ out of 10)
Lacie's Moon: A Children's Story About Grief is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt children's books we've seen. It was a very pleasant introduction to the works of Natcole Staskiewicz and her artist, Amyia Staskiewicz. They are a dynamic and wonderful family duo!
Family is at the heart and center of this book as the main character, Lacie, reflects on the apparent loss of her mother. This book was greatly inspired by two real life tragedies recently endured by the author and artist, two tragedies which hit close to home. So, to say that this book is highly inspired would be an understatement. You can definitely see and feel that the heart is there. This book has quite a bit of heart and soul, and it'll speak to children and adults alike, especially if they've experienced a similar loss.
One thing that immediately stood out to us about this book is that the art is terrific. Amyia Staskiewicz is definitely a skilled and professional illustrator who poured her heart and soul into this project. Every page, including the sadder ones, is colorful and inviting. This is especially true for the human characters who are drawn and colored beautifully. Lacie herself is especially adorable, and her mother is drawn with so much love that you can practically smell the calming scent of her bath towel and the comforting feel of her warm embrace through the pages. That's really special. Those pages might very well make your eyes water a little.
There are also the mystical heart-people who educate Lacie on the nature of loss and of love. They tell Lacie (and reader by extension) that love is forever and that the heart never forgets. No one is ever truly lost because love lasts forever. That's a powerful message for children and adults alike who may be experiencing loss.
There are a few minor things that make this book a bit challenging. For one, the writing is not always spot-on. For example, there are a bunch of times when either quotation marks, commas, or periods are missing. That's especially troublesome with dialogue. For example, there are times when there's a missing punctuation at the end of a quote including during the most beautiful quote in the book on page 32. There's at least one time in which a period seems to be missing when every other line ends with a period. These are minor grammatical things that will probably fly under the radar, especially if you're reading this aloud.
Another thing that's a bit challenging about this book is coming to grips with the ending. So, is the girl's mother not dead or is she not dead figuratively because of how love works and stuff? Is Lacie just using her imagination to break reality? Shouldn't there be closure to a loss and acceptance of it instead of a denial of it? Could children possibly be confused or wonder why Lacie gets her loved one back and they don't? Those are just a few things to think about and consider. This book might have worked out better had Lacie visited a grave of her mother or reflected on a photograph or memorial of her, then children who'd actually lost a loved one or a parent could empathize a bit more. As it stands now, it almost seems like Lacie was experiencing more of separation anxiety at bedtime like Llama Llama in Llama Llama Red Pajama rather than an actual death in the family. Those are just a few honest, constructive critiques, nothing too big of a deal.
You could also possibly gather that this book is about appreciating the people and things you have and not taking them for granted. That could be applicable to a child even if they haven't experienced a loss yet.
Overall, this is a really wonderful and beautiful book with great art and a heartfelt message.
Check it out on Amazon!